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California Supreme Court Provides Rare Update on Inverse Condemnation Doctrine

On August 15, 2019, the California Supreme Court issued its first inverse condemnation opinion in more than 22 years in the case City of Oroville v. Superior Court of Butte County, Case No. S243247.  The Court held that to succeed on an inverse condemnation claim, a property owner must show more than just a causal link … Continue Reading

Lessons in Litigating Inverse Condemnation Claims

Inverse condemnation litigation and liability has become a particularly hot topic in California over the last several years.  Not many attorneys specialize in this area, and there are a number of traps for the unwary lawyers, public agencies, and property owners involved in such litigation.  A recent Court of Appeal decision provides some important lessons … Continue Reading

Court Holds Agency Appraiser Not Required to Identify Specific Damages When Outweighed by Project Benefits

In an eminent domain proceeding, the property owner and the condemning agency each typically introduce evidence of just compensation through valuation experts. The jury is then required to render a verdict in between the owner’s (high) valuation and the agency’s (low) valuation. Usually the biggest delta between the sides involves severance damages — or damages … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hears First Inverse Condemnation Case in Years

On June 5, 2019, the California Supreme Court (“Court”) heard oral argument in the case City of Oroville v. Superior Court of Butte County, Case No. S243247 (“Oroville Case”). This case is notable because it is the first time that the Court is weighing in on a significant case concerning the doctrine of inverse condemnation … Continue Reading

Crafting Settlement Agreements in Eminent Domain

Like the vast majority of general civil litigation, eminent domain matters usually settle before going to trial.  The resolution is typically documented in either a stipulated judgment or a settlement agreement.  What is unique to eminent domain, however, is that the settlements oftentimes take place before the public project is fully constructed, meaning the parties are … Continue Reading

Utilities Have the Right to Remove Trees Within an Easement

Many public agencies and utilities have easements for water or gas pipelines or electric transmission lines.  Those easements typically contain express rights to construct, operate, and maintain the facilities, including rights of access; but oftentimes the easements are silent on what rights are reserved to the private property owner, including whether the owner can place … Continue Reading

Property Owner’s Spot Zoning Challenge Unsuccessful, But Regulatory Taking Still Possible

When a local government agency impermissibly “spot zones” a property, thereby depriving it of all economically beneficial uses, can the property owner seek to invalidate that zoning decision, or is the owner left with a claim for damages under the theory of a regulatory taking? In a recent published California district court decision,… Continue Reading
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